Grassley Worries Governors Could Use Medicaid Funds To ‘Mask Poor Decisions’

grass.jpgAs Pat Garofalo points out in today’s Progress Report, most conservatives have been attacking the stimulus on the premise that its initiatives “may be worthy in themselves, but have little to do with ‘stimulating’ the economy.” Yesterday, for instance, Republican strategist Jennifer Millerwise Dyck suggested that boosting funding to Medicaid would not create jobs and should not be part of the Democrats’ economic stimulus package.

Today, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said he could “buy into 90 percent” of the emerging plan but “opposes the nearly $90 billion in aid to states for Medicaid because some governors would use the money to mask poor decisions in other portions of their budgets.”

But allowing sates to plug their budget holes with federal funds is sort of the point. While Medicaid is one of the largest drains on every state’s budget, giving governors some latitude to use the funds balance the budget, keeps the government running and reduces other painful cuts in essential services or tax increases.